"Saved by the Bell holds a special place in people's hearts," says the actress of the sitcom that made her a star

By Aili Nahas
November 24, 2020 10:00 AM
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Elizabeth Berkley
| Credit: Cheyenne Ellis

Over three decades after Elizabeth Berkley Lauren first walked the halls of Bayside High, the actress is reprising her role as Jessie Spano on the new Saved by the Bell reboot — and the reunion couldn't be sweeter.

"It's a very special thing we share," Berkley, 48, tells PEOPLE in this week's issue of her former costars Mario Lopez, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tiffani Thiessen and Lark Voorhies, who all appear on the reboot, streaming Wednesday on Peacock. "It's touching to have all these years of people that you care about and that you're rooting for. To be on those same sets with those faces I know and love so well feels like coming home."

When it comes to the new iteration of the hit 90s series, "We wanted to introduce a new cast but also give fun winks and nods for the true fan," says Berkley, also a producer on the show. "Saved by the Bell holds a special place in people's hearts. It's part of their childhoods, and that is sacred. We are all fiercely protective of that legacy."

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The actress, who has been wed to artist Greg Lauren since 2003, is also introducing a new fan to the beloved show — their 8-year-old son, Sky.

"Sky came to set and he got to have a clapboard and say action," says Berkley. "For him to get to really witness what I've worked for, and what I do, has brought a lot of joy."

Her return to Bayside — Jessie is now a best-selling author and guidance counselor — has been Berkley's biggest onscreen role since giving birth to Sky. "When he was born, I didn't feel that pull to work," she says. "I felt pulled to him. This is the first thing I've said yes to and it was the perfect time in our family."

Credit: Cheyenne Ellis

And the star, who also founded Ask Elizabeth, an online advice resource for adolescents in 2006 (a book of the same name followed in 2011), says it's also an ideal time for lifelong fans and newcomers alike to find a renewed love for a show that defined a generation.

"We all need this right now," says Berkley of the reboot. "For a nostalgic show to bring some happiness to this world, that is really meaningful."

The Saved by the Bell reboot premieres Wednesday on Peacock.